5 x 8: Adrian Peterson and ‘serial fatherhood’

Back fulltime on Monday.


Adrian Peterson addressed the media yesterday about the death of his son, apparently at the hands of the boy’s mother’s boyfriend.

The innuendo in some media — CJ’s column in the Star Tribune yesterday comes to mind — has been fierce, suggesting that Peterson has been a phony for a few tweets that suggested he cared about the boy’s death, what with never having met the child and all.

“I haven’t been able to focus on anything else,” Peterson said yesterday, a day after he attended the funeral of his son. “I was planning on seeing him. I had a talk with his mom and we got some things together as far as financially helping her. Unfortunately this situation took place. It’s devastating.”(About 4 minutes into this video):


It’s an unusual position for journalists to take: judging whether or not Peterson gave a damn, especially since it was journalists — not Peterson — who created the narrative of a football player pressing on amid tragedy.

Peterson’s crime, the tabloids shout and local sportswriters whisper, is that he impregnates women, apparently not over anyone’s objection who’s directly involved.

On his radio blog, Star Tribune writer Patrick Reusse added Peterson to the list of athletes whose “nice guy” image was tarnished.

His perfect image has taken a considerable hit in recent hours. And this has happened in the wake of Peterson losing a 2-year-old son that he never knew.

As an on-field performer, Adrian’s fortunate to be a running back, a position that requires mighty legs, not a mighty mind.

Yet, it’s never easy for an athlete to have the public think you are a hero both on and off the field, and then have the second half of that taken away.

We will find out in the weeks ahead if Peterson can maintain his athletic invincibility while having lost his perfect image.

In Baltimore, sportswriter Susan Reimer writes that the question to ask is whether Peterson should be having sex with waitresses and dancers without a condom:

While the death of the boy is a horrible tragedy, that doesn’t disqualify us from considering Mr. Peterson’s casual approach to parenthood. Why are we so indifferent to this kind of casual, serial fatherhood?

Mr. Peterson is by no means alone. Baltimore’s own adored Ray Lewis has six children by four women and is not married to any of them. The gilded Dan Marino, married father of four, has a child with one of his former network co-workers. The list of NFL stars who are populating the earth without regard to the value of a stable home life for children is as long as a training camp roster.

And still no outrage from those who would hold football players accountable for so many other sins. It seems that they get a pass because they are supporting the children, made that much easier by their enormous playing contracts. But dollars, while very handy, don’t get it done when it comes to raising children.

More “good guys”: Twins’ all-star Joe Mauer and his mom become teachers’ aides (TwinCities.com)

More parenthood: Amid churchgoers, an orphan pleads for a family(Tampa Bay Times).


Photographer Hannah Price, it’s fair to say, is tired of men who catcall. “To an extent, it is disrespectful,” she tells NPR’s Code Switch blog. “It depends on the tone, yeah. It really depends on the expression, what they say to you. Sometimes people will say they want to do something to you — I feel like that’s really disrespectful. I think it really depends on the phrase.”

So she turned her camera on the men.

“I wasn’t trying to dehumanize anyone, it was just a response [to] an experience, and just because I’m … just because I’m a black person or a minority, it’s easier for me to talk about this subject or make those photographs. And I understand how other people may respond to it. I’m just trying to point out that … I was just transitioning from a different place, I was just trying to …. point out that we’re all human and all confused,” she said.


A small group of 12th graders at Saint Paul’s High School for Recording Arts took an airline flight to Montreal — the first plane ride for some of them — then biked 350 miles to Quebec City, Twin Cities Daily Planet reports in its story on Keeping it Wheel, which documented their journey.

The film captures beautifully how music breaks the ice between the young people from Montréal and Minnesota. After resting from their tour, the film begins the bike road trip. Embarking on their bikes, a bright sunny day transformed to rain and windy cold weather for five days and four nights. Students learned to persevere and complete a project. Along the way, they learned about a different history, environment and way of life as well as how to cook, camp and make do when things just don’t go right.

More wheels: A Saint Paul folksinger is on tour in the region, riding his bike to all of the venues to get there, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin. Nate Houge had to leave two days early for a gig in River Falls.


Two women were crying in a restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., recently and the waitress didn’t know why until another customer slipped her his credit card and his note:

Via Reddit.

“When the ladies were ready for the check, I told them the man near them had taken care of it, and the mother was overwhelmed with emotion, which I have to admit almost got to me too,” the server told CNN.

Meanwhile, last Saturday evening, Boyd Huppert at KARE 11 reports, nearly 300 volunteers tied more than 800 fleece blankets. All the blankets will be given away to cancer wards, hospices and homeless shelters, mostly in the Twin Cities area. The inspiration for the project came from a cancer diagnosis.

And now back to politics: This will sound like a flippant question, but I’m not at all sure it is, coming as it does from a man who spent time in a hospital recently. What if we got rid of politicians and put nurses in charge of everything?

Salon looks at a recent Hannity episode in which families recounted their experiences with the Obamacare “disaster,” and found they (a) didn’t know what they were talking about and/or (b) hadn’t even tried the insurance exchange.


Photo: Grace A. Walsh for MPR

At the rate winter traditions are being canceled here in flyover country, winter here will soon be like winter everywhere else.

The latest is the cancellation of the John Beargrease sled dog race. It costs $50,000 to run the race and officials in Duluth said the lack of snow recently has tapped them out, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

Apparently, fewer people are also involved in the sport.

Bonus I: Just another evening on Lake Superior.

Bonus II: And from Marine on St. Croix, this message:

Bonus III: In North Dakota, New Concerns Over Mixing Oil and Wheat (NY Times). Also see Forum Communication’s images from the Tioga, ND oil spill.

Bonus IV: “Rickrolling” in Klingon.

Should police be required to wear cameras?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Jim Wallis of Sojourners discusses his new book “On God’s Side” with two local faith leaders. When political discourse is marked by bitter partisanship, how can people of different faiths and political ideologies find common ground? (Rebroadcast)

Second hour: Congressman Collin Peterson on the farm bill.

Third hour: Author Richard Moe explores what he deems a pivotal year of American history, 1940, through depicting Roosevelt’s complex character of actions and motivations, as he decided to pursue a third term. Moe argues that Roosevelt’s third term greatly changed d America’s foreign policy and changed the way people perceived the presidency.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): History professor Annette Atkins on the history of place and people. Talk given in Stillwater, Minnesota’s oldest town. “Walking Through Our Past: History on the Ground.”

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – Facebook, Twitter and smartphones make social networking easy, but how do our brains connect with others?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – You may have not heard David Bromberg. But you’ve certainly heard him play guitar. For decades, musicians have called on Bromberg’s guitar skills when they need to record an album. Now, he’s releasing an album of his own. NPR reviews David Bromberg and his new blues and country tunes.